Monday, November 23, 2009

Q&A I did for a college kid majoring in music

Q&A I did for a college kid majoring in music

1. What do you like the most and the least, about what you do?
The most - I like to  achieve goals I make for myself
The least - When I come across self-centered people 

2.What about the Music Industry most appeals to you right now and why?
Potential - The biz can be what you make of it. It's full of opportunities. 
But you need to not only find, but create opprtunities.

3. Is your job a life-long career or a stepping stone to other paths?
After 25 years, I would have to say it's a life-long thing for me.

4.What difficulties do you run into with, the other band members abilities in scheduling gigs? - their vacations, work or family time....etc?
We have to make a pack that in the end this is OUR business and approaching it in lazy convenient way only hurts us all and
hurts the business. If you want a band to replace a day job, then the responsibilities associated with that must be respected as
if you had a day job. If you put more respect and time into a day job, then that's where you will be. If you will put more effort and respect
towards your business, then in time you should be able to create something. 

5. How do you resolve conflicts and keep the band together and focused?
Create goals and stick to the game plan. When someone isn't on the same page of something we agreed we would be
working towards, then everyone else will tell the person to get on the same page. Each year we discuss our goals for the year.
We make small, medium and large goals and how we will work towards those. We also make sure we have realistic goals.

6. How much practice time is required and how far out is it scheduled?
We practice in the winter more than the summer. We build up a catalog to choose from and then get into gig mode and execute.

7. Who would you consider is your biggest influence in music?
Hmm.. to me that's a multi-part question. 
In terms of music itself, I love Def Leppard (arena rock) and Rick Springfield (good pop songwriter)
In terms of music business I like Gene Simmons of Kiss on well he "brands" his band.
In terms of songwriting I like Diane Warren
In terms of Producing I like Mutt Lange
In terms of Business (not music, but business is related to music) I like Steve Jobs of Apple.

8. When did you know this was the career you wanted to pursue?
In 1984 when I was 14. But I admired music since I was 2 and wanted to play guitar since 7 or 8 years old. 

9. What do you think the biggest change your band has experienced and how that impacted it in a positive or negative way.
Learning how to grow the brand faster and faster. Sticking to a game plan has helped us thru rough times. 
Communication is critical to anything that has a group of people working for one common task. 

10. How do you deal with each band members commitment and each one doing "their fair share"? 
(Do some have more responsibilities than others and are they compensated appropriately?)
I handle all business for 7th heaven. I am a control freak, because I know how I want something done and I will
make the sacrifices that others would not make. All I ask of my band and crew is show up with a positive attitude and
do your job. Be on time. Know your parts. The band is only as good as it's weakest member.. so let's not have a weakness. 
A good team hides weakness's and exemplifies strengths. 

11. Did it take much trial and error, determining the instruments and equipment that worked out best for you and the band?
Not really. As a writer I like to write a lot of parts. I wish we could have 12-20 people on stage to play all the parts, but we can't.
We'll use a sequencer on songs that need more parts than we can humanly perform. (about 1/2 - 2/3 of our show)

12. How many hours a week, do you spend on all the related facets of your profession?
60-80 hours a week on average. More when we are doing a CD, video or booking.

13. What advice would you give to other bands starting out?
Make realistic goals. Don't be lazy. Put forth a effort. Understand no one will ever care more about your band/business
than you will, so don't wait around for the band ferry to come out and make your band/brand a product that people want
to buy into. Make friendships with people as you will need them to help you in various ways along your path.
Leave the ego at home. Be a team player in the business you are involved with.

Richie - 7th heaven